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Ithaca Week

Home: to go, or not to go, that is the question

Two years from now, when Xin Yuanhui graduates from her Hotel Administration major at Cornell University, she will have to make a decision of her lifetime on whether to stay in America. However, going back to China, where Xin has grown up in Dalian, a city in the Northeast, has never been an option for her.

Xin’s decision is rather unique. According to a report published last month by the Center for China and Globalization, in 2012, the total number of Chinese students overseas was about 1.14 million. In the recent five years, almost 800,000 students have returned to China, tripling the total number of the first 30 years since 1978.

Wearing a black crop top with the name of her sorority, “Alpha Xi Delta” and a pair of American flag printed denim shorts, Xin told Ithaca Week that she wants to work in the United States and pursue an MBA degree.

“What I learn here is better to be applied here in America, not back in China,” Xin said.

Xie Yiyin, second-year Landscape Architecture graduate at Cornell University, said she wants to go back to China after getting a few years’ work experience in the United States. Xie said that the most important element in her decision was the job market.

“Landscape industry is not so good in America, compared with China,” Xie said.

Besides the vast number of opportunities China has to offer, Xie said the language and culture barrier is another reason that leads her back home. She said these one or two year master programs are too short to prepare Chinese graduate students for jobs.



Xie Yiyin (right), 23, chatting with her Taiwanese roommate. Xie doesn’t hang out with her American fellow classmates because most of them are “in their 30s and have families and kids.”

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